Where should I consider
I think the reason fantasy players can afford to be bullish on Michael Vick, at least a little bit, is the fact that he produced top-5 fantasy numbers this week despite throwing only 25 passes. The last time Michael Vick put up 29.6 fantasy points (in our FantasyGuru.com scoring system) with 25 or fewer pass attempts? Week 14 of 2005, when he was still in Atlanta. Clearly, I’m cherry-picking stats and the study isn’t exactly scientific, but the point is Chip Kelly’s offense gives Vick an opportunity to be both efficient and impactful, and he frankly could have been better with some throws I’m sure he’d like back. Health will always be a concern for Vick, but as long as he’s out there, he’s a fantasy starter. If you have another stud QB to go with Vick, it might be time to start exploring a Vick trade and get significant value elsewhere, but it’s also completely valid to roll with Vick until some team shows it can actually slow this offense down.
How do I treat the Eagle WRs, outside of
I think I’d give the Eagles’ situation another couple weeks to shake out before considering picking another receiver up.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Who will bounce back after a bad Week 1?
My money is on Cleveland running back Trent Richardson. Let’s be frank here: the Browns’ usage of Richardson in Week One was utterly absurd. He started off incredibly well, carrying 4 times for 26 yards on the Browns’ opening drive. But Richardson totaled just 9 carries after that drive, for 21 yards, as the Dolphins stacked the box. Meanwhile, quarterback Brandon Weeden dropped back 59 times, getting hit on 16 of those dropbacks. Say what you want about Weeden, but he was being put in a position to fail in Week 1. All the while, Richardson was a bull in the game, breaking away from tacklers and fighting for extra yardage. Despite this, he didn’t get a single carry in the fourth quarter of a one-score game. The Browns might not have wanted to wear Richardson down, but they have to win games in what looks like a winnable division. Richardson is their best player, and he should be the one they use to do that. They must realize this after they lost a winnable game against Miami.
What is the impact of the injuries in New England?
The Patriots are, no doubt, hurting right now, literally and figuratively. While it was fair to think Danny Amendola would get hurt before long, the fact that he missed Week 2 with a groin injury is tough to swallow, especially given he played through the injury in Week 1 and made 10 catches (the short week didn’t help). But at least they had Julian Edelman to fill in. The Shane Vereen injury is much more concerning. The Pats don’t really have anyone else on their roster to fill Vereen’s role. That’s why I think the Pats could use Edelman in a Vereen/Danny Woodhead type of role when Amendola gets back from his groin injury. He could have value independent of Edelman. Also, this team really needs Rob Gronkowski.
What the heck do I do with David Wilson?
Tom Coughlin is asking the same thing. But to be honest, I don’t think the Giants have a choice but to roll with him at some point. The newly signed Brandon Jacobs hasn’t been effective since 2010, and I think his on-field role is merely as a pass protector and short-yardage guy for the Giants. With Andre Brown out for at least half the season, the Giants must give Wilson another chance if they want to have any semblance of a run game. Here’s what I think Coughlin will do: He’ll realize that his passing game is strong, and he’ll build the offense around Eli Manning by running out a lot of three-wide sets, including impressive youngster Rueben Randle (who could develop into a very good fantasy receiver, by the way). And because he has no choice, he’ll give Wilson a chance to redeem himself for his two Week 1 fumbles. Given that Wilson was in Coughlin’s doghouse for so long last year, I think it’s easy to forget that his opening night fumble against Dallas last season was his only fumble on the year. He’s got to get himself right mentally, but I’m concerned Coughlin is negatively in his head at this point. Nonetheless, given the Giants’ total lack of depth at the position and Wilson’s overwhelming athletic ability, fantasy players should either stick with him or try to buy low, because it can’t possibly get worse… right?
Which rookies are you watching going forward?
I want to see Bengal running back Giovani Bernard get more touches, first of all. He had only five touches in Week One, but he gained 30 yards with those touches, one more yard than BenJarvus Green-Ellis gained on 15 touches. Bernard, who played about a third of the Bengals’ snaps in Week 1, should get more playing time in the coming weeks. It was good to see the Rams look for receiver Tavon Austin a bunch, giving him seven targets in Week 1, including a deep shot on which he drew a long pass interference penalty. Austin gained only 41 yards on his six catches, but it’s clear the Rams view him as a potentially dynamic player in their very interesting young offense. Speaking of potentially dynamic players, the Vikings need to give Cordarrelle Patterson more than five snaps. They should be doing everything possible to help Christian Ponder out, and Patterson is a serious playmaker with the ball in his hands.
INJURIES TO WATCH
Shane Vereen, Patriots – The only other running back outside of
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – Bell could be out another few weeks with his foot injury, but I may consider picking him up now if you have a free roster spot. If he returns after the Steelers’ Week 5 bye, he could immediately become the lead back on one of the NFL’s messiest offenses.
Roddy White, Falcons – White has never missed an NFL game, but his high ankle sprain is clearly limiting him. If you have a viable backup receiver, sit White until he proves he’s healthy enough to contribute. He was mostly a decoy last week.
QB: Eli Manning, Giants – With David Wilson’s fiasco in the backfield, the Giants have no choice but to build their offense around the passing game. Oh yeah, it should be a shootout with bro Peyton.
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks – I know he struggled last week, but the Seahawks need him, and believe it or not Lynch has gone over 100 yards in each of his last three meetings with San Francisco.
WR: James Jones, Packers – He was catchless last week, but I doubt it happens again against the Redskins’ beatable secondary.
QB: Tony Romo, Cowboys – His rib injury looked nasty last week, and reports from practice this week suggested Romo was struggling with his accuracy. The Chiefs have a really underrated defense, too.
RB: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals – The Bengals line has struggled with run blocking, Green-Ellis cannot create his own yardage, and he averaged 2.5 yards per carry in two games against the Steelers last year.
WR: Torrey Smith, Ravens – Just like Mike Wallace, Smith will see a lot of top Cleveland corner Joe Haden. Haden held Wallace to one grab last week.
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings – Simply, I don’t trust Christian Ponder at all. Rudolph looks like a player who needs a touchdown to contribute for fantasy, and touchdowns are incredibly fickle.
Joe Dolan is the managing editor of FantasyGuru.com and a host for SiriusXM Radio. A former writer for PhiladelphiaEagles.com, Joe still contributes to the site with on-camera segments and written columns. He can be heard hosting “SiriusXM Fantasy Football Gameday” every NFL Sunday from 1-7 PM on Sirius 210, XM 87.